Slaves were very valuable and cost a lot of money. They were called property, not citizens, so they were sold in an auction house. A lot of slave owners felt free to punish their slaves whenever they did the littlest things, such as sweeping the floor wrong. Punishments were whipping (often 50 to 100 lashes), branding, ducking under water, getting put in stocks, slapping, kicking, tarring and feathering, and tying up. Run away slaves were chased by dogs, and when caught, were hit with paddles or whips or got a body part such as an ear cut off. Some slaves even died from these punishments. These punishments originated in England. No punishment was too harsh or too mean. These punishments were done even after it was against the law in the United States. However, the worst punishment for many slaves were to be sold away from their family. They were sent far away and to new places where they were uncomfortable. There were nice slave owners who did not hurt their slaves,so many slaves did not run away. The nice slave owners knew that if they were mean, the slaves would run away and the work would not be done on the plantation. If the work was not done, the plantation did not make money, and the owner could not buy new slaves. Then, finally,the plantation would fall a-part. This is why slaves were so valuable and important before the law was made.